Growing up in Gudbrandsdalen, one of my favourite places in the world as a kid was Hunderfossen Eventyrpark. A more intellectually stimulating and less hectic alternative to the traditional rollercoaster-filled amusement parks, Hunderfossen had a nice and quite calm atmosphere, and even though you could ride in small cars, they were so slow that even I could appreciate and enjoy them, year after year. Maybe best of all, the park was largely based on the animator/filmmaker genius of Ivo Caprino, and he himself was an active contributor to the park's humble beginnings in the late eighties. The great thing is: The place still exists! And it still has that large troll too! Going inside it, watching all the Caprino characters in the wonderfully detailed environments accompanied by that trollishly magical music by Lakki Patey, still gives me the chills.
Early 2011 I was approached by Hunderfossen, as they wanted me to compose the music for a new semi-length musical play – TROLLSVERDET – for the park's theatre stage. Since then, I've been back many times with new musical deliveries, gradually evolving into a complete musical profile for the park's expanding fairytale universe.
This is when all those memories and experiences at Hunderfossen from my own childhood come in handy, because I already have a very distinct feel of what it felt like to be there as a child – it was more or less my favourite place after all! Musically we are staying true to the Norwegian fairytale traditions, keeping with an expectedly "trollish" musical score, but not without adding a few modern twists and surprises...
Even though the sound is symphonic and somewhat "big", I did not want it to sound Hans Zimmer big. It should not lose the warmth and intimacy of the Norwegian fairytale world, which is why I have wanted the music to maintain a more "dry" feel of a smaller ensemble (like in those old animated Norwegian fairytale movies of the 60's), rather than a full blown orchestra. And although a considerable deal of the instruments come from sample libraries rather than live musicians (at least in its current version), I have purposely stayed away from using the big ensemble patches, and based the orchestral palette more on solo instruments, to get more of that "chamber" symphonic folk sound I was after.
There is also a soundtrack album available with many of the songs and some of the instrumental themes. Scroll down to listen on the embedded Spotify player below (or read on!)
Although these are lots of separate projects for the different stages and areas of Hunderfossen Eventyrpark, they all belong together in such a fashion that it really only made sense to group it together as one ultra big project page. Here is a small summary of my timeline of different Hunderfossen projects:
My work began with the score and songs for the 2011 musical play TROLLSVERDET, with an original script by the late, great Morten Hovland. Bjørn Helge Warud of Askeladden Friteater was directing, as he would continue to do for a great many of the park's projects, both big and small. I composed three main songs; "Bli med på eventyr", "Trolletrill, trolletrall" and the instant hit "Heksefest". All three songs have character estabilishing melodies and themes which also echo all through the underscore parts, and in the grandioso Overture. "Bli med på eventyr" also features the main fanfare theme and the adventure/friendship theme, which also echo in the overture. Themes all around!
Trollnatt: "Askeladden og Galder som Stjal Sola" (2014)
I continued to make small adjustments the two following years - but the next big batch of new music came in 2014, when the new play ASKELADDEN OG GALDER SOM STJAL SOLA premiered as the main part of the park's now very popular Trollnatt concept, with a new script by Mathias Calmeyer. Here three crucial new main themes were added, the Princess theme and song ("Evig tro til Dovre faller"), the epic troll metal of "Galderrock", and the King's (instrumental only) theme. Lyrics for the new songs were written by Janne Langaas, who also added new lyrics to several of the already established theme songs from 2011. The big and rather dumb troll Galder's new theme was used heavily in the new production, with dramatic score and battle versions in addition to the full blown "Galderrock" rendition. The same year I also composed two songs for the play GULL AV GRÅSTEIN; "Gull av gråstein" and "Hvem er tøffest", with lyrics by Bjørn Helge Warud. I also made a quirky "troll orchestra" opening ceremony for the park entrance, and more...
In 2015's winter park concept in February, a special opening ceremony was composed, which was roughly a sort of "Trance Party of the Trolls". We went a bit more "epic" than some of the previous Hunderfossen music here: Bigger drums, bigger brass, big bells of ice; and obviously, tribal trance flute riffs (!).
Trollnatt: "Askeladden og Kampen om Tronen" (2015)
Later, in the summer season, yet another new play was set up as the main attraction of Trollnatt, called ASKELADDEN OG KAMPEN OM TRONEN. Like the previous year, the new production had a script by Mathias Calmeyer and song lyrics by Janne Langaas. Two new main songs were created, the all new Askeladden fiddle-based theme, with the full song "Jeg vinner til sist". The King also needed a big song number this year, and as I already had composed a small theme for the King the previous year, this actually mutated and transformed into a big, comical song number, which can only be described as "baroque reggae". New score music was also created this year, especially for the "reality show" parts of the new play, in which the King hosts a competition, where the main prize is – you guessed it – the Princess and half the kingdom... This meant we also had to dive into the cliches of bad reality TV music, which was immensely good fun! There was also a great "Heksedans" dance performance as a prelude to the main play itself. For this, a 7 minute long montage of many of the different musical themes from Trollnatt was utilised.
For the 2016 winter park concept, the next addition to the Hunderfossen song universe was added: A touching fairytale duet between a princess and her queen mother. This song has later been repurposed and incorporated as a duet song for later editions of Trollnatt.
For the 2016 summer season, Hunderfossen opened its first real attraction geared solely towards the smaller trolls: Children up to three and four years of age. A "funhouse" full of colours, playthings and obviously music. For this music, we still wanted to stay connected to the sounds of Norwegian folklore, with jaw harps, flute and fiddles, but combined with more of a circus feel and modern synthetic rhythms. It should sound cozy, playful and safe, and inviting exploration. A looping reel of four tailor-made instrumental songs was the result.
For 2017's edition of Vinterparken, I composed a grand 8 minute ballad, a "snow hymn", with new lyrics by Janne Langaas, and performed beautifully by actresses Karoline Sommerseth Horntvedt and Rebekka Opdal Christiansen.
Trollnatt: "Askeladden og Dronningen på Kongsgården" (2017)
2017 saw the most drastic evolution of the entire Trollnatt concept yet, with bulldozers trashing the old (and rather small) stage, in favour of a new EPIC outdoors stage formed as a royal court, with big buildings, staircases, bridges et al. Yet another new script was written by Mathias Calmeyer, and Gard B. Eidsvold came in as director. The cast was also now extended with an ensemble of dancers and background actors. Also, this made room for the biggest batch of newly composed music, since 2011's TROLLSVERDET: New songs for Trolle and the new Queen, and lots of new background score made for a much more cinematic and engrossing experience.
Trollnatt: "Askeladden og Galder som Stjal Sola" (2019)
In 2019 we turned back time and went back to the script for 2014's ASKELADDEN OG GALDER SOM STJAL SOLA. But so much has changed since 2014 – both the stage, the cast and the direction – so it's practically a whole new play. And almost certainly the funniest one yet! There were also new instrumental themes made for "Nordavinden", "Sjuende far i huset", and more.